Vincent Brown wears several hats.
No, seriously, he has a lot of different baseball caps. They help him illustrate a point.
He gives a different first impression whether he shows up to a board meeting with a hat or without. People’s reactions also change depending on whether he’s wearing the home team logo, the emblem of an interstate rival, that of an Ivy League institution, or something else. People literally look at it differently depending on just one piece of clothing. The hat exercise just helps them realize this.
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“One of the cool things about implied biases is that they often happen even if you don’t realize it,” Brown said in an interview in early June. “In seven seconds you make 11 impressions of people. It’s a human condition. In the first seven seconds (after meeting you), I already think I felt you. It’s not on a conscious level, it is a level unconscious. “
Brown has worked in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, or DCI, for 35 years. He was one of the founders of Global Novations, a human capital and talent optimization company that has served more than half of Fortune 100 organizations. After selling the company, he founded V. Randolph Brown Consulting, which specializes in advisory, consultancy, education and training services related to business, leadership and DCI. Some of the company’s many notable clients include the NCAA, NBA, Johnson & Johnson, and Procter & Gamble.
On June 14, Brown will share his thoughts on the importance of inclusion and diversity at a CivicCon event live at Community Maritime Park.
Brown has done much of his work with his business partner Janet Reid.
“After selling our business to a publicly traded company – we were, at the time, the largest DCI consultancy firm in the country – we realized that while a lot of great things had happened, there was still so much progress to be made, especially in companies at the highest levels, “said Brown.” So we have undertaken this quest to try to understand what is really driving this. “
They found that one factor is unconscious bias: the attitudes, beliefs, and stereotypes we have about others without even realizing it.
“What often happens is if you say, ‘You are biased,’ people think you are saying they are racist,” Brown said. “And that’s not what we’re saying.”
He said bias is a natural organizing principle, the way our brains use available information to make quick decisions. Brown said our natural instinct is to connect more easily with people who remind us of ourselves, a holdover from the “old idea of” are you in my tribe or not? “”
He added, “If you are human you are biased. However, we must not let these prejudices guide us, we can rule them. And we can do it in a way that helps us build better relationships with people. who are very different from us. ”
Brown co-wrote a book with Reid titled “Intrinsic inclusion: restarting your biased brain. “
The book notes that while all people have biases that subconsciously influence their behavior, we can make conscious decisions that allow us to overcome those biases. The book explores how we might rewire our brains to disrupt unconscious biases, change ‘default’ mindsets, and develop inherently inclusive behaviors.
“There are four what we call ‘real stigma disruptors’ that really help people start building bridges, if, in fact, that’s something they choose to do,” Brown said. “And the other good news about it is that if we do it over and over again, we can literally build new neural pathways in our brains that will allow us not to have to think about (our previously held biases). . The biases never go away, but what you can do is create an alternative route.… We must not let these biases guide us, we can direct them. “
Brown told CivicCon he hopes to inspire people to think about the power of inclusion and the power of forming relationships with people who are different from themselves.
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“There is an advantage to this,” he said.
“I think the question we need to ask more and more, our communities and our organizations, is what is our greatest cause? What is our common goal? And then recognize that we are so much more powerful together than separately, ” he said. “And in a similar vein, if parts of our community don’t feel included and involved, then we can’t optimize and be all that we can be in terms of communities.”
Brown has said like many of us, he sees the deep divisions in our country.
“I believe that now more than ever we need more people who want to be bridge builders and do it intentionally.… Sometimes I feel like those who are truly inclusive are just quieter. “, did he declare. “And we need to hear these people and see them in action. It’s a voice that’s very important. So that’s what I’m hoping for is that at the end of my presentation, at the least two people who hadn’t thought of (speaking of inclusiveness) do it. And then if there’s more than that, then I think it’s a success. “
Brown will talk more about how to disrupt prejudice and be more intentionally inclusive in a 6 to 7:30 p.m. presentation on June 14 at Blue Wahoos Stadium, 351 W. Cedar St.
Registration for the free and open to all event is available through by searching for “CivicCon” on eventbrite.com. The event will also be broadcast live on pnj.com and the Facebook page of the News Journal.
CivicCon is a partnership between the News Journal and the Studer Community Institute to help communities become better places to live, work, and invest through smart planning and civic conversations.
To learn more, visit pnj.com/civiccon.
Kevin Robinson was previously a reporter for the Pensacola News Journal. He is now a Content Coach at Northwest Florida Daily News and a member of the CivicCon Board of Directors. Kevin can be reached at [email protected] or 850-435-8527.